It is Saturday and I am reclining in my La-Z-Boy, eating donuts: long johns filled with vanilla cream. This is my ritual.
I am still haunted by the Boba Fett t-shirt I saw at my local comic shop the day before. I can’t stop thinking about it. I must acquire that shirt. However, it’s not a simple purchase.
This t-shirt will come at a price far greater than the $14.99 the shop is asking. I’ve never been willing to go this far before, but I know what I need to do.
I put on my White Lion Pride album to motivate myself before enacting the first phase of my plan. I listen while I think. I stuff the rest of the donuts into my mouth. I rock out a little bit. By the time the album is done I’m feeling relaxed. I’m feeling good. I lean back in the La-Z-Boy and pick up the phone: I am ready for the most important conversation of my life.
I dial up Michael Jordan.
MJ: Hello, Jordan here.
I almost puke donut back up into my mouth. This could turn out bad, but I need that Boba Fett shirt.
PO: Hello Michael Jordan, it’s me, Petra Orloff.
MJ: I’m sorry, who?
PO: Uh, Petra, Petra Orloff.
MJ: Do I know you?
PO: I just need a quick minute of your time.
MJ: How’d you get this number?
PO: Um, really this will only take a moment. It’s about Star Wars.
MJ: Star Wars! What! Are you kidding me?
PO: No, I happen to take Star Wars very seriously.
MJ: I told you guys a million times, I’m just not interested in that kind of stuff.
PO: Uh, no, I’m not actually representing…
MJ: You’re not with what’s his name?
PO: Lucas? No.
MJ: Well then, who are you?
PO: Actually, I’m the biggest Star Wars fan on the face of the earth and I want to buy a Boba Fett t-shirt.
MJ: Look, I’m not signing anything. I really gotta go.
PO: Wait, wait. (I knew White Lion would come in handy.) I don’t want you to sign anything. I just want you to apologize.
PO: Um, yes. Please apologize for all the crap you’ve talked about Isiah Thomas, and also for freezing him out of the 1992 Summer Olympics.
PO: You know, the first Dream Team.
MJ: I know, I know, the first Dream Team, but what?
PO: I would like an apology.
MJ: For Isiah?
PO: Yes. For Isiah.
MJ: I don’t under…
PO: I need closure.
MJ: Fucking closure?
PO: Yes, so I can buy the Boba Fett t-shirt.
MJ: What the hell does this Bubba-what have to do with me and…look, I’m just getting off the phone.
PO: I’ll call you back.
MJ: I won’t answer.
PO: I’ll keep calling. Mr. Jordan, please, you don’t understand how bad I want this shirt. Just apologize, I’ll hang up, and then I’ll go out and buy my t-shirt.
MJ: You’re insane.
PO: Sometimes, yes.
MJ: What are you talking about, a t-shirt? Look, I’m not apologizing for anything. I hate that little shit Isiah. And he’s still throwing his ego around. Look how he screwed up New York. What the hell does this have to do withStar Trek anyway?
PO: Star Wars.
MJ: Okay, Star fucking Wars. Same space shit anyhow.
PO: No, not really. Star Trek actually depicts a future in which…
MJ: Okay, okay, I really don’t care. I just want to get off the…
PO: Look, I’ve hated you ever since you decided to freeze Isiah out of the Olympics and since you made all sorts of comments about…
MJ: Hated me? HATE-ED ME?”
PO: Yes. You really should have just sucked up your ego and…
MJ: ME? MY EGO? Do you have any idea what it was like to play Detroit in those days? Do you have any idea how dirty those guys were? What about Daly’s Jordan Rules? Huh? Freeze out? You wanna talk freeze-out? 1985 NBA All-Star Game? Ring a bell? What about that shit?
PO: Still, it really didn’t give you any right to…
MJ: Right? I’m Michael Jordan, for Christ’s sake. I’ll do what I want.
PO: Yes, and you did. You kept basketball’s most dynamic player out of the Olympics and…
MJ: Most dynamic player? Have you ever seen my highlights?
PO: I’ll tell you what I didn’t see: Space Jam.
MJ: Really? Everybody loved Space Jam.
PO: No. They didn’t. Look, I need your help, I’m the biggest Isiah fan on the face of the earth.
MJ: You already said that.
MJ: You said you were the biggest Star Wars fan on the face of the earth.
PO: Yeah, and…
MJ: You can’t be the biggest fan of two things on the face of the earth.
PO: Yes I can.
MJ: No, you can’t.
PO: You’re doing it again.
MJ: Doing what?
PO: Deciding who gets to do what and be what and all-around deciding stuff for other people. This is what I mean. Please Mr. Jordan, just apologize and we can be done here.
MJ: I’m not apologizing.
PO: You have to.
PO: Look, I avoid everything you endorse. Nike. Hanes. Ball Park franks. There was that whole Gatorade phase and even Coca-Cola for a little bit. And I do it all out of respect for Isiah. For love of Isiah. My god, do you know what it’s like to be a sports fan and not eat a Ball Park frank?
MJ: They’re actually very good.
MJ: Ball Park franks.
PO: Yeah, I know. That’s my point. I want to wear a Hanes t-shirt and grill hotdogs again, so please apologize.
MJ: They plump when you cook them.
PO: The franks?
PO: I know.
MJ: And if you add just a little bit of cheese sauce right when…
PO: Michael! Seriously. Just apologize so I can go buy the Boba Fett t-shirt. It’s a Hanes.
MJ: It’s Hanes?
PO: Yes, it’s Hanes.
MJ: Hanes makes that shit?
PO: No, I think someone bought a bunch of Hanes and you know, put an iron-on on it.
MJ: An iron-on?
PO: Yes, a decal. Now, Michael please…
MJ: An iron-on? What do you want that cheap stuff for? You should try the Hanes heavyweight with…
PO: Look, if I could have done this some other way, I wouldn’t be asking for your help. Now, I just want an apology. Apologize for wrongs committed against Isiah Thomas and I’ll be happy.
MJ: What do I care about you being happy?
PO: You’re supposed to be a hero. Heroes don’t go around degrading other players.
MJ: Now who’s deciding shit?
PO: Seriously, that’s just common knowledge. Common hero knowledge, actually.
MJ: Common hero knowledge? Are you for real?
MJ: Listen you, me and Isiah, we’ll never get along. He’s an idiot. And you don’t need me to say that, he does a good enough job of that himself, he’s ruining everything for himself.
PO: Look, I’m not even campaigning for a public apology, just, you know, tell me that you’re sorry. We can keep this between ourselves.
PO: Michael, I’m not even asking you to acknowledge his greatness, just say you’re sorry.
MJ: No. This is crazy. I can’t believe you’re even asking…this is crazy.
PO: Michael, please. You don’t even understand what it’s like to be an Isiah fan. Especially now. The ridicule I face. People laughing and pointing at me. People spitting on my game day jersey. I’m a basketball pariah! I’m a sports leper! Yeah, everyone understands the Jordan fan. But the Isiah fan. That’s a different story. We’re ignored. We have no voice. We’re written off as lunatics. We’re…
MJ: I know what it’s like.
MJ: I know how you feel.
PO: You’re a secret Isiah…
MJ: No, no, no. Christ, not Isiah. Jesus.
PO: Then you can’t possibly begin to…
MJ: Tonya Harding.
PO: Did you just say Tonya Harding?
MJ: It’s true. I’m not ashamed, but it’s hard. Try finding someone else who’ll admit they’re a Tonya Harding fan. Man, the way that girl could kick out those triple axels. She was just magical.
PO: Tonya Harding is a criminal!
MJ: Now who’s saying what?
PO: She’s a criminal. I think she actually went to jail. It’s not the same as Isiah. It’s not even close. Isiah’ll beat you fair and square. He never had to club somebody in the leg for it.
MJ: You know, she never clubbed anybody, she only…
PO: Oh yeah, she only hired some guy to do it.
MJ: No, her husband did. If he hadn’t done all that, she would have beat the crap out of Oksana Baiul on the circuit.”
PO: Yeah, with a lead pipe.
MJ: That’s it. I’m really getting off the phone. I’ve had enough.
PO: So that’s it, you’re not going to say sorry. You’re not going to finally atone for all of your sins against one of basketball’s greats?
MJ: No, I’m not. And he isn’t really that great.
PO: Seriously? Are you serious? You never scored 25 points in one quarter of a playoff game!
MJ: So, I’m Michael Jordan. I didn’t have to.
PO: Did you hear me? One quarter! One fucking quarter!
MJ: No. But look, I’ll do this, I’ve got my own steaks.
MJ: Yeah, steaks. I got my own steak brand. Michael Jordan Signature Steaks. They’re delicious. I won’t apologize, but I’ll send you a steak.
PO: I need an apology. I don’t need meat.
MJ: You don’t want a steak? They’re a helluva lot better than a Ball Park frank, that’s for sure. You could grill yourself a nice steak, sit down, relax in your new t-shirt…
PO: I don’t want a steak.
MJ: Everybody needs steak. Protein’s good for you.
PO: I want an apology.
MJ: Take a steak.
MJ: Come on, just take the steak.
PO: I need more than that from you Michael.
MJ: I’ve got nothing left to give except for the steak. I can’t help you.
PO: Well, you know, I expected more from you. I really expected more. You’ve disappointed me. Again.
MJ: Okay, well, I don’t know what to do. Maybe I should just hang up.
PO: You probably should. You’re a giant disappointment. Really, you are.
PO: Yes. And I tell you what I’m going to do. I don’t need your fancy Hanes and your bloated Ball Parks. There are other options. I’m going to keep on wearing Fruit of the Loom and eating Hebrew Nationals. And, I will find another Boba Fett t-shirt.
MJ: Hebrew Nationals?
PO: What do you expect?
MJ: Listen, you don’t have to go to extremes here. Just take some time, think about these decisions you’re making and…
PO: I won’t. My mind is made up. I hope you’re happy with yourself because I still don’t like you very much.
MJ: I could still send a steak.
PO: No Michael, I’m getting off the phone. This is goodbye.
MJ: Petra, don’t freeze me out. Please don’t freeze me out…
PO: Goodbye Michael.